I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...
The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...
The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...
Wim Delvoye is an artist provocateur without taboo.
He is an alchemist who manipulates banal daily items to create a thermonuclear mix of ideas and opens new horizons of their meaning, forms and functions.
He is an ironic interpreter camouflaging gas cylinders for Delft tiles, transforming shovels and ironing boards into shields with emblems, converting as if by magic construction machines–cranes, dump trucks and concrete mixers, everything monumentally heavy–into airy feather-light structures with an interwoven ornament of high gothic, aerial and untouched by earthly life, artificially reproducing and displaying digestive tract processes, from the consumption of food to the evacuation of excrement, and tattooing pig skins as a mockery of the universal mania of senseless decorations.
Yet being an incorrigible romantic and dreamer, he does not create individual things but acts as the demiurge of his own planet Wim Delvoye, an analog of the magic country Walt Disney, which captured the prospective artist’s imagination in his childhood years.
Wim Delvoye worships the world of simple things and values. They are the source of his artistic works. He poeticises the potential of imagination, knowledge, knacks and scrupulous attention to detail characteristic of craftsmanship and, at the same time, seeks to add an esthetic meaning. Another source of his creative fantasies is obviously the charm of architecture, which surrounded him in his childhood and was actually learned at mother’s knee, gothic cathedral decorations, pointed multifaceted spires, elongated spiky silhouettes, crosses, stained glass roses and symbols of European royal dynasties.
Some works by Wim Delvoye have colossal dimensions (sometimes construction machines are reproduced full-size), but they do not look monolith heavy. The elusive combination of monumentality and zero gravity illustrates a highly architectural approach of the artist to the modeling of space of every individual object and the exhibition as a whole, either a gallery or a museum. He is equally good at design of printed products, books and catalogs.
The impeccable work, the engagement of top-notch craftsmen and the incorporation of folk craft traditions from all over the world alongside the use of advanced industrial technologies in the making of his objects are other characteristic features of W. Delvoye’s creation method.
Handmade carvings, which transform banal tires into a unique object, which becomes the centerpiece of any luxury interior, bronze sculptures polished to heavenly shine, carelessly scattered on a concrete floor, stun viewers with deformation geometry and multilayer connotations; laser-perforated intricate metal laces of high gothic, which the artist entwines into an airy object whose form and size precisely fit the real size of a construction truck.
The amazing creativity and architectural thoroughness of Wim Delvoye have been appreciated by the world’ leading museums, from the Paris Louvre, which held a retrospective show of his works in 2012, to many other museum projects, among them Guggenheim, Venice, Italy (2009); Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (MAMAC), Nice, France (2010); Musée Rodin, Paris, France (2010); Palais des Beaux-Arts (BOZAR), Brussels, Belgium (2010-2011); the Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart Tasmania, Australia (2012), etc.
At 53, Belgian artist Wim Delvoye continues to employ the shock factor with abandon. Moving between the sacred and the profane, inflections of gothic drama and high technology imbue the artist's drawings, sculptures, and installations. He frequently swings from fine art to the decorative, applying Belgian ornamental elements such as coats of arms...
Outside of the fairs this week, don't miss the exhibitions on view at Basel's tops museums and institutions, including Wolfgang Tillmans, Wim Delvoye, Jérôme Zonder, Yan Xing and Richard Serra, amongst others.
The Belgian artist Wim Delvoye is showing his inventive, innovative and occasionally controversial works in his first Swiss retrospective at the Museum Tinguely (14 June–1 January 2018). The exhibition, organised in collaboration with the Mudam, Luxembourg's museum of Modern art, highlights how, since the late 1980s, Delvoye has combined the...
On the eve of a major retrospective of his work at the Museum Tinguely, Basel, the Belgian artist Wim Delvoye talks to Apollo about merde-making machines, mass production, and the messy future of Europe.
'Art Brussels believes in galleries that support their artists throughout their evolution... We are definitely not interested in showing work in a supermarket-like style.' We speak with Anne Vierstraete, Managing Director of Art Brussels, as the fair nears its thirty-fifth edition.
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